Conchoraptor yanshini (Barsbold, 1981) skull
Archosauria: Saurischia: Maniraptora: Oviraptoridae
Locality: Khulsan, Gobi Desert, southern Mongolia
Age: Late Cretaceous (Campanian), 75 million years ago
Conchoraptor is a primitive small theropod derived from the carnivorous theropods.
Out of this stock arose many dinosaurs which were not necessarily carnivores.
On the roof of the mouth of Conchoraptor were prominent bumps of bone
against which it would have been possible for the animal to have crushed shells, eggs
or even nuts and fruits against its toothless mandible. Conchoraptor, in fact, has no teeth
at all. The skull was very light weight and the bones quite thin, just like those in living
birds. It had a parrot-like beak and a crest along the top of the nasal area. Conchoraptor
and all other oviraptors ran on hind legs like emus and ostriches, but had fully functional
hands with three long fingers ending in sharp curved claws that could have easily grasped
items like eggs and fruits. The oviraptors come exclusively from the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia. They differ from other maniraptorans by toothless jaws with frontal parts
probably covered by a horny bill. Such unusual structure provoked a suggestion that
oviraptors ("egg burglars") might feed on eggs of other reptiles, but it is more likely
they fed on mollusks using powerful toothless jaws to crash their shells.